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Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask (T-rex costume DIY)

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY - T-rex costume tutorial

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY - T-rex costume tutorial - paper mache t rex

It’s time for a paper mache dinosaur mask DIY!

I absolutely love paper mache (or papier mache, however you want to spell it), and jump at any opportunity to do it.  This Christmas, my friends and I did a Secret Santa exchange with a theme of “What your gift recipient wanted to be when they grew up”.  The person I received already seems to have their dream job (working at Disney as an Imagineer!), so I decided that as a little boy, he probably wanted to be a dinosaur.

….and let the crafting begin!

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY

Materials:

  • construction hat ($7 on Amazon here)
  • scrap paper (magazine, newspaper, etc)
  • flour
  • tape
  • hot glue
  • cardboard
  • paint
  • 2 balloons
To start with, let me say that I did some of this in an order that retrospectively was silly, and caused a lot more work than I needed to do.  I will show you what I did, but upfront let me say that if I were to do this again, I would wait to paper mache everything until I attached the eyes and lower jaw, and then would only have needed to paint once.  Would have a saved a couple hours.  Oh well, lesson learned! 🙂

1. First you cut up some cardboard strips and tape them along the front of your construction helmet, to make the top jawline extension.  Next add a few more strips arched above the first cardboard extension, which will essentially be his snout.

I started to paper mache the cardboard at this stage, but in retrospect, I should have just waited until I added the eyes before doing anything.  So skip that part for now.

2. Blow up two balloons to be about the size of your fist, and tape them to the sides of the hat.  These will be the eyes. You then want to use the masking tape to tape down everything so that there isn’t a gap in between anything.  You are essentially making the shape of the skin, so it should be smooth with no big holes.

3.  Paper mache the head!

In case you haven’t paper mached before, you fill a bowl with flour and enough water for it to be more liquid than solid.  Then you dunk strips of paper into it and lay it down all over the dinosaur head.  There are a plethora of different types of paper mache recipes here if you need more specific instructions.

You can do a couple of paper layers each time, but then you want to leave time for it to dry between doing more.  Usually this takes about a day, or if you are impatient (like me) you can put it in the oven on warm (NOT hotter) for 30 minutes to an hour.  You should repeat this process at least 2 times—the more you do, the stronger and less fragile the paper mache dinosaur mask will be.

You can sorta see the miniature village this Godzilla will destroy, which is being made in the background (see the last page for more photos of that!)

4. NOTE: If you are adding the lower jaw (like I did), skip the painting part for now. I’m silly and did things out of order.
I thought I’d paint green directly onto the newspaper, but I quickly realized I needed a layer of white first, to cover all the magazine images.  Then I went with green (but if you use white paper to begin with, you can go straight to green).

Trex costume tutorial

5.  Next—teeth!  Cut some strips of cardboard into teeth shapes.  Make sure you leave a little extra room at the bottom, because you’ll be gluing them down and this part will be hidden.  Paint them white and once they’re dry, hot glue them on the inside of the top jaw!

6.  I next painted the eyes and added some nostrils!

T-rex costume tutorial: Dinosaur mask

T-rex costume DIY tutorial: Dinosaur mask

It was at this point in the project that I decided the paper mache dinosaur mask didn’t really feel complete without a bottom jaw.  So I set back to work…

7. I created a new bottom jaw with some more cardboard. It was essentially an oval with one flat side where his front lower teeth would be.  Then I paper mached it and painted it green and added more teeth.

8.  I had to slip it into the top half of the hat, so I pulled up the size adjustor and slipped it in the back, and along the sides underneath the plastic rim.

9.  I was worried about them staying firmly in there, so I added some hot glue in the connection part at the back, and then in the ended decided to just add a bunch of tape (tape solves everything) and paper mache over the gap, so it was really secure.

So close!  The only thing left to do was to paint over the new paper mache part and I’d be done!

Ready for the finished product?

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask – Final product!

I’m finally done!  This was a bit of a labor of love, but my paper mache dinosaur head is finally completed.  And it fits great!  The best part about using the construction hat as the base is that it can be adjusted for size and won’t fall off even if you flip upside down doing crazy t-rex acrobatics.

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask : DIY dinosaur costume

Papier Mache Dinosaur Mask : DIY dinosaur costume

A little view of the inside of the construction hat, so you can see how it works a little bit:

…now it’s time for a ridiculous paper mache t-rex mask photo shoot!

DIY Mache Dinosaur Costume: Trex costume

Papier Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY: T-rex costume

Papier Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY: T-rex costume

Poor Wilson didn’t known what to think…

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY

Paper Mache Dinosaur Mask DIY: T-rex costume DIY

….it sorta reminds me a bit of Rex from Toy Story—all you’d have to change would be to put the eyes really close together (so use just one balloon) and give him more of a goofy smile.

Also! My friend Emily also helped me make a miniature city, so that the t-rex could live out his dreams of being Godzilla.  Check them out on the next page.

Comments 23

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    1. Lucy Post
      Author
  4. Hi, was worried that the balloons may loose air if I make it early / before the actual event ill be using it for… .???? – g.della

    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      Hey! The balloons are only to create a shape temporarily, so you can cover them in paper mache. Once the paper mache has hardened, the balloons can be popped, or you can let them deflate on their own and stay in there. Hope that helps!

  5. Thank you for this! My wee dinofanatic just watched a show with a papermache dino head (dino dan) but only showed the final version.

    i had never paper mache’d anything in my life, so one search on how to make it, and one search on dinosaur helmet paper mache!

    you laid out everything so perfect for me, he’s going to have a lot of dinosaur helmets!!

    do you have any tips on making big spikes for them 🙂

    thanks again, awesome post!
    brian

    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      I’m so glad it’s going to be helpful! I’d say big spikes would probably be best made out of cardboard cut into triangles. Then to make them harder just go ahead and paper mache the heck out of them, including the part where it attaches to the head so that they don’t break off. Or if you can find any cool colored plastic you can cut into triangles, hot glue might do the trick and you can avoid the extra paper mache-ing.
      Good luck!!

  6. HI there! Can I use little plastic balls instead of water filled balloons? Do the balls change the view? It looks fantastic btw, thanks for step by step showing.

    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      Yes, definitely! (Also, the balloons were filled with air not water haha—water would be a disaster). It won’t change anything——you see through the mouth when you’re wearing it.
      Glad you like the tutorial! 🙂

    1. Lucy Post
      Author
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    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      Sorry for the late reply! Yes, for sure—you can use anything round. I liked the balloons because they kinda compress against the helmet and make more of a half-sphere. With a hard ball you’d have an entire sphere sticking out of the head. But that could also look cool!

  9. Beautiful job, any ideas on not having to use the hat inside? I have all the materials except for that…

    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      Yep! You could blow up a balloon that is at least as big as your head and then start paper mache-ing around that. I like the construction hat because it really secures the mask to your head, so the balloon method might wobble around and be less comfortable. But should work!

    1. Lucy Post
      Author

      What steps did you take? The only parts I can think might turn out heavy is if you did different eyes or maybe didn’t leave the paper mache to dry fully?

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